Sunkissed Goa is not just one of the hottest tourist destinations in India, but also an emerging startup ecosystem despite the limited connectivity, inadequate access to private investments and a myriad of infrastructure woes. Among these, the lack of investments is perhaps the hardest challenge for entrepreneurs to overcome. After all, connectivity and logistics issues can be overcome with ingenuity, but the lack of funds is a hurdle that founders cannot cross alone.
Amey Karmali of Centre for Incubation and Business Acceleration (CIBA) agrees that the biggest challenge for Goan startups is this lack of access to funds. The state does not have any angel investor or venture capitalists, he added to emphasis the point. Unlike their major presence neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra, VCs view Goa only as a holiday destination. There’s some relief in the form of government intervention.
Even though the state government has started offering grants to emerging startups, the process is far from simple. It’s said to take about five to six months and that can be the difference between survival and shutdown for an early stage startup.
Under the Goa state startup policy, the government is disbursing a one-time grant of INR 10 Lakh ($15,373) to startups with a minimum viable product.
According to Karmali, the Goa startup ecosystem has only started growing in 2014, with the help of central government’s startup-focused initiatives such as Startup India. Hence, the volume of startups is low in the state but there is a definite sign of growth across the state’s coastline.
Goa Startups To The Fore
The startups in the region are working across multiple sectors including healthtech, HRtech, digital payments, tourism and hospitality among others.
The healthtech startup was founded by Gajanan Nagarsekar in 2007. Kallows has built a flagship smart health monitor called MobMon which has the capability of streaming live diagnostic quality ECG, heart beat per minute and oxygen saturation (SpO2) to a phone or tablet.
The HRtech company was founded by Yashvit N in 2013. Jobsoid is an online applicant tracking system (ATS) for businesses to streamline all recruitment processes from sourcing candidates to making the right hire. It optimises recruitment time by automating the screening and shortlisting process.
Founded in 2017, Minkspay is a mobile/DTH recharge and utility bills payment platform for small retailers. The company claims to have served 5K retailers in Goa, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Other services offered by Minkspay include seamless payment acceptance powered by UPI QR code, multiple value-added financial and micro banking services, and a progressive loyalty program for retailers to earn money with every transaction.
Founded in 2018 by Samarth Kholkar and Sandeep Mukherjee, B:Live is a travel company offering electric bike tours across Goa. B:Live tours are driven by local and claims to give quintessential Goa experience to the tourists.
Founded by Akhil Singh, and Mohsin, RealLearning.in is an artificial intelligence-backed software to evaluate handwritten answer-sheets. It claims to save about 70% of the time taken by evaluators and teachers, and generates data-based insights for each student.
Founded by Malcolm DSouza, and Rohin Parkar in 2017, Mrinq is an IoT (internet of things) product development and solutions company based out of Fatorda, Goa. Its flagship product Spintly uses BLE mesh technology to offer smart lighting control and building access through a smartphone.
Founded in 2015, HandyTrain is a mobile-based training platform for corporate employees, which graduated through Prototyze, a venture studio based in Panaji. HandyTrain’s learning and training platform helps businesses and organisations enable training for on-the-ground workforces such as in the retail environment or sales personnel at startups or companies that feet on the street. HandyTrain’s bite-sized multimedia-rich content is tailored for the specific needs of each business and everything is done on a smartphone. HandyTrain claims to have trained over 150K users in 15 countries in 12 different languages.
Currently operating in stealth mode, Lightcat uses data science to optimise client products. It claims to create invisible customer polls, activating them at the right time, right action and for the right type of user. Eyeing the $15 Bn customer experience market, Lightcat says its product is at the intersection of Uber’s “why did you cancel this ride” feature and customer interviews. Lightcat has recently been selected in the Axilor Accelerator programme and hence, shifted base to Bengaluru.
Founded in 2009, Transerve is an enterprise SaaS company is working with geospatial technology to develop smart city solutions and advanced data collection tech for data democratisation. Some of its clients include SAIL, Goa government, Delhi government, Tata Trusts and more.
Founded by Gautami Raiker in 2018, The Legal Capsule aims to make legal documentation hassle-free and cost effective. The company offers pre-drafted, ready to use legal documents for users to edit based on their own requirements.